Is There A Lack Of Awareness About Gum Disease In The UK?

is there a lack of awareness about gum disease in the uk feature image

Gum disease has been in the spotlight several times already this year. Last month in the UK we had Gum Health Awareness Day, a national campaign that aimed to increase national awareness of periodontitis, or gum disease. Through research, campaigners found that many people weren’t properly aware of the risk factors for gum disease, and how it could be prevented. This raises the question – is there a lack of gum disease awareness in the UK?

Gum Disease Is A Serious Problem

checking the gums

More than 45% of adults in the UK are currently being affected by gum disease, which has the potential to seriously impact their quality of life. In fact, 10% are living with the most severe form, which is the most likely to cause pain and even tooth loss.

It just goes to show how serious gum disease is, and how frequently it’s underestimated by the public and healthcare professionals alike. (It also underlines why it’s so important to properly look after your gums.) Having diabetes is proven to increase the risk of gum disease, but despite this, in surveys researchers found that 50% of sufferers have never been given any information on the risks of gum disease by their dentist. Periodontitis has similar links with other systemic conditions, including Alzheimer’s and various cardiovascular issues.

Many of us are very aware of our teeth, which means that as well as being harmful to our health, gum disease – in its later stages – has the capacity to seriously damage our confidence and the way we see ourselves.

Why Might There Be A Lack Of Understanding?

showing the damage

Some experts think this is to do with the way we see our bodies; we’re such complex beings that it’s easy to forget everything is linked. We go to the opticians for our eyes, for example, the dentist for our teeth, and maybe our GP for heart difficulties, and it can be easy to think of these as very separate things. But in fact, conditions like gum disease can affect the rest of your body in ways you might not expect – we’ve even dedicated a whole blog post recently to how our oral health affects the rest of our bodies. The widespread misconception that gum disease affects only your mouth is one of the most fundamental misunderstandings about it – and if we can tackle that, we’re already one big step towards successfully preventing it.

Another reason why gum disease is so often underestimated is that in its early stages it’s not very painful, so can be very easy to miss. Some symptoms include:

  • Bleeding when cleaning around teeth or gums
  • Teeth that are becoming loose
  • Teeth that begin to move around or change position
  • Gums receding or shrinking (not a sign of old age!)
  • Bad breath or halitosis

It’s crucial to always be on the lookout for these symptoms; the fact is that gum disease can be easily treated, especially in its earlier stages. If you spot any of them, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts at AP Smilecare! As always, though, prevention is better than cure, so practice good brushing techniques and look after your oral health.

Recent public health awareness campaigns have definitely helped – last year, national Gum Health Awareness Day reached well over 4 million people via social media – but there’s still more work to do! Encourage your friends and family to look after their own dental health (especially children), and don’t forget, if you have any questions at AP Smilecare we’re always here to help.

If you’re concerned about your own gum health, we’ve got a variety of gum treatments to deal with exactly that. Feel free to call 01254 297 000 to book an appointment at our dental clinic in Blackburn, or email us on enquiries@apsmilecare.co.uk.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @APSmilecare

Posted on: 30th Jun, 2017